Yim Leads Futures Tour
Sung Ah Yim of Seoul, Korea carded a 1-under-par 71 today to quietly get the job done and stay on course while others appeared to self-destruct on The Pines Country Club's firm and quick greens and thick rough. But her four-under-par, two-round total of 140 required considerable effort.
'I just concentrated on every shot,' said Yim, 20, a rookie who has posted nine top-10 finishes and holds the No. 6 position on the Tour's money list. A win on Sunday would push her into the top five with three tournaments remaining, giving Yim a solid chance of earning one of the five LPGA Tour cards awarded to the season's top performers.
But first things first. She still has to close out her first professional win in the U.S. And she still has to get past some stiff competition hovering only one shot back.
Liz Earley of St. Catharine's, Ontario also carded a 71 to move into a tie at three-under-par 141 with Virada Nirapathpongporn of Bangkok, Thailand, who struggled mightily today, but eagled the last hole with a chip-in from 15 yards. The former Duke star took her two-over 74 and was grateful that the day had mercifully ended.
'To be able to come back like I did is nice,' said Nirapathpongporn, who had five bogeys, one birdie and one eagle for the day. 'I finally woke up on the back nine and remembered what I was out here to do.'
As for Earley, she relied on her veteran's patience and a handful of 'safety putts' to roll her long putts 'anywhere near the hole.' The Canadian bogeyed the first hole when she pulled a pitching wedge and didn't get up and down for par, but she rallied with birdies on No. 5 and No. 8. With bogeys on No. 10 and No. 11, Earley knew she'd better find a way to stop the bleeding soon on a course in which the pin placements had plenty of slope and the greens rendered considerable punishment.
'On this golf course, patience is huge,' she said. 'I could have gotten ticked off and lost it but I knew there were some birdie chances ahead.'
Sure enough, Earley dropped in a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 16, took a solid par on the day's toughest-playing hole -- the 209-yard, par-three 17th -- and hit her 7-iron to six feet on the 18th hole for birdie.
Earley recorded 32 putts and was grateful. Malinda Johnson of Eau Claire, Wis., had 33 putts and was kicking herself all the way from the 18th green to the scorer's table. Johnson grabbed the tournament lead briefly with a birdie on the 11th hole. But the lefty promptly gave the lead back to Yim on the 12th, then double-bogeyed the 16th with a three-putt green that pushed her into a tie at two-under 142 with Anna Knutsson of Malmo, Sweden. Knutsson posted a second-round 70 on the par-72, 6,287-yard course.
'I hit it better than I scored,' said Johnson, a rookie, who hit 15 greens and 10 fairways. 'These greens are getting so fast that you have to stroke it perfectly to have a chance. I didn't hit it outside 10 to 15 feet all day and I struggled with the putter.'
But while a few players scrapped and clawed to stay in the game, a few others lost strokes early and never could catch up. First-round co-leader Melanie Holmes-Smith of Melbourne, Australia, stumbled with an 80 and dropped into a tie for 28th at 147. Michelle Simpson of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., carded a four-over 76 to go from three behind the leaders to six back. Only 14 players broke par in the second round and only Danielle Downey of Spencerport, N.Y., cracked the 70s, firing a 69 to move into a tie at even par-144.
All of this prompted veteran player Marianne Morris of Middletown, Ohio, to sum up the day's results: 'There's a lot of carnage out there today.'
Indeed, it wasn't pretty. But this 13th annual tournament nestled in the West Virginia mountains has a long history of surprise endings. Whether it will be the quiet Korean earning her first U.S. title, the veteran Canadian winning for the first time in two years, the former college star capturing her first win as a pro or any of the chasers snatching the victory in a come-from-behind charge, it's certain to go down in tournament lore. Now, if only the field can hold off those speedy greens and ruthless rough.
Seventy-five players in the 144-player field made the 36-hole cut at 151 (+7).
Sundays final round of the 54-hole tournament will begin at 8 a.m., off the first tee. The leaders will tee off at 11:36 a.m.
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.
In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.
"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’
Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.
“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.
“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’
Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.
The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.
Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan
Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.
Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.
Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:
“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”
Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.
“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”
Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.
“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”
Best Greg story: coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes “Yep, caddied for her, her, her and her” Legend— Matthew Galloway (@matthewgalloway) November 23, 2017
In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.
“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”
Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.
“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”
The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time Tour caddie, Greg Sheridan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QKy0YdK249— LPGA (@LPGA) November 22, 2017
Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.
“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.
Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:
Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:
Sad to hear the passning of Greg Sheridan. This photo brings back many memories. Always respected his caddy skills and devotion to womens golf. @natalie_gulbis @LPGA #RIPGreg pic.twitter.com/lHU3Ixz9Vk— Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59) November 23, 2017
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:
Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:
Professional caddies are often overlooked and underrated. But they're just as often the unsung MVP of a player's success. We just lost a great one. RIP Greg Sheridan. He was the 1st to welcome me to my LPGA assignment years ago. He will be missed eternally.— Jerry Foltz (@JerryFoltzGC) November 22, 2017
Rest with the Angels now, Greg Sheridan. ❤️— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:
RIP Greg Sheridan. One of the most successful and great caddies of World Golf, period.— Shaun Clews (@shaunclews1973) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:
Sad to here that long time tour caddy Greg Sheridan has passed away! RIP Greg, you will be missed. — Jonny Scott (@stixy76) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:
The world is a sadder place today without our buddy Greg Sheridan, a caddy and a friend for lifetimes...Godspeed buddy— Kevin Casas (@TheKevinCasas) November 23, 2017
LPGA pro Jennie Lee:
So sad to hear the news of long time LPGA caddie Greg Sheridan. I️ remember sitting next to him on the plane from Walmart to the US Open one year and he gave me the best words of wisdom on player/caddie chemistry. He will be missed greatly. Thinking of you @natalie_gulbis ❤️— Jennie Lee (@JennieLeeGolf) November 23, 2017